Freedom of navigation in South China Sea not a problem: Chinese FM
Updated: 2016-02-24 09:02
WASHINGTON - Freedom of navigation in the South China Sea has not been a problem and demilitarization in the region needs efforts of all parties related, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday.
US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shake hands at a joint news conference after their meeting at the State Department in Washington, February 23, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]
"The islands in the South China Sea have been China's territory since ancient times, and China has the right to safeguard its territorial sovereignty," Wang said at a joint press conference with his US counterpart John Kerry after a hours-long bilateral talk.
"At the same time, we insist that the issue should be solved peacefully through dialogue and consultations," Wang said.
Turning a deaf ear to China's calls for honoring its promise not to take sides on the maritime disputes, the U.S. has since last October sent warships and military jets to deliberately violate China's territorial waters in the South China Sea.
At the press conference, Kerry said that the United States has the so-called "freedom-of-navigation" right in the South China Sea.
"In fact, there has never been such a problem with freedom of navigation in the South China Sea," Wang stressed. "The situation in the South China Sea is overall stable."
As for militarization in the South China Sea, Wang said that people always focused on China's moves, but turned a blind eye to the advanced military equipments deployed by some other country in the South China Sea, including missel destroyers and strategic bombers.
During the past decades, some countries illegally occupied China's islands and militarized them heavily, not only with radars, but also with all kinds of artillery, he said.
"The demilitarization needs efforts of all parties, not only China, but also the United States and ASEAN countries," Wang said.
China would like to have dialogue with the United States on the South China Sea to avoid misjudgement, he said.